Over 80 Combined Years Of Maritime Law Experience

Watch out for arbitration agreements in your Jones Act case

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2024 | Jones Act

When you’re injured at sea, you need money to get you through your recovery. While you might be able to recover this compensation by taking legal action against your employer pursuant to the Jones Act, there’s a good chance that your employer is going to deploy aggressive tactics to try to avoid as much liability as possible.

One way this could happen is by proposing an advanced wage agreement. While this agreement doesn’t sign away your right to take legal action against your employer, it likely will limit your action to arbitration in exchange for an advance on your future wages. Although such an agreement can give you a quick influx of cash, it could be problematic for your case.

Why arbitration could be bad for your maritime case

Arbitration is somewhat like litigation, in that you’ll have the opportunity to present your case, but the ultimate decision is made by an arbitrator or a group of arbitrators. Their decision is binding on you, too, meaning that it’s final and enforceable.

So how can arbitration be bad for your maritime case? Here are some disadvantages;

  • You won’t have the ability to make an emotional appeal to a jury.
  • Without a potential jury trial, you lose leverage in trying to force a favorable settlement.
  • Arbitration payouts are typically smaller than awards issued after a jury trial.
  • The rules of evidence may not apply.
  • You don’t have the ability to appeal a decision rendered through arbitration.
  • Arbitration decisions don’t create precedent, so you won’t have historical rulings to back up your claim.

Don’t be fooled by your employer’s sneaky maritime law tactics

Your recovery and your future could be riding on your maritime law claim. If you allow your employer to take advantage of you, then you could be doing yourself a massive disservice.

Therefore, before agreeing to anything offered by your employer, you should discuss the matter with your attorney. By doing so, you’ll hopefully be able to find a path forward that best positions you for a successful and favorable outcome.